PORTLAND — On Monday, The Portland Press Herald ran a column by Peter Judkins, the CEO of Franklin Savings Bank, praising the recent veto of L.D. 145 by Gov. LePage (Another View, "Editorial wrong on foreclosure bill's consumer protection"). This bill was designed to protect Maine homeowners from abusive mortgage servicers, and the governor's veto of it was unfortunate.
A Maine Supreme Judicial Court decision issued in December described some of the foreclosure practices of one large national mortgage servicer as being "reprehensible," "fraudulent" and "ethically indefensible." L.D. 145 was designed to combat some of those abuses by giving Maine homeowners the right to demand that a foreclosing bank produce the original mortgage note for inspection early in the foreclosure process.
In representing Maine homeowners in foreclosure, I far too often see foreclosure cases brought where the foreclosing parties either do not have the note, or do not have the endorsements on the note that would give them the legal right to foreclose. No one would expect a bank to cash a photocopy of a check, so why should Maine homeowners be forced to trust these national servicers when all that they produce is a photocopy of a mortgage note?
Mr. Judkins asserts that L.D. 145 is duplicative of 2009 legislation, which enacted a law requiring foreclosure plaintiffs to prove ownership of a mortgage notes when they begin a foreclosure case.
He ignores the fact that the national servicers violate that law routinely, and then bitterly complain when court decisions expose their violations. L.D. 145 would have stopped them from violating Maine law and destroying people's lives. These servicers have learned that Maine's underfunded court system allows them to get away with these violations.
Mr. Judkins' assertion that L.D. 145 was duplicative and unnecessary is simply wrong. More disturbing is Mr. Judkins' assertion that L.D. 145 would have delayed foreclosures.
That statement is worse than wrong -- it is not honest. LD 145 would not have delayed any legitimate foreclosure by a party in possession of the original note as Maine law requires.